Thank you Eastwood for welcoming my family over this first week. We have been unbelievably busy getting the kids acclimated to school, Luke to baseball practice, unloading at the office, and of course, unpacking what seems like a never-ending maze of boxes. We are making progress. You have made this as easy a transition as anyone could have imagined. Thank you to everyone who has helped clean, paint, entertain the kids, offer meals, provide gifts, and just a kind word or hug along the way. We cannot adequately express how appreciative we are!
As we begin to look ahead, I thought it would be helpful to give you a picture of what I believe my first 90 days as Senior Pastor will look like. My goal is simply to look, listen, love, and lead.
LOOK & LISTEN
I plan on having lots of meals and meetings. I want to work hard to not only remember your name but hear and know your story. It is important for me to hear about your family, your testimony, and how you came to Eastwood. I want to know what God is doing in your life, and how I can begin to encourage you and pray for you. I want to be your pastor, your brother, and your friend. God has wired me to love people and I am excited about getting to know each of you.
You will find that I am not a “ghost pastor”. What is a “ghost pastor” you ask? I refer to this as a pastor you only catch glimpses of from time to time in the hallways of the church, but never really see or hear from much. I am sure you will see me in the hallways, popping my head into your classroom, and at as many church events as possible. You will also find that I am an open-door pastor. Please come by and visit. I will always have some strong coffee available for you.
I want to learn the history of Eastwood and its organization as well. I will be spending a lot of time learning about committees, polity, structure, policies, procedures, job descriptions, schedules, and taking intentional time to develop relationships with church staff. I am a team leader and the team is very important to me. I believe God has placed them all here to lead in their respective areas. I expect them to lead. My main job will be to encourage, resource, and guide them to be the best minister of the gospel possible.
I will spend time familiarizing myself with the Haughton area as well. I have spent most of my life in South Louisiana, which I know is different than North Louisiana. I rarely ever made it north of Deridder, except for the occasional trip to Natchitoches for Christmas or a state track meet. I am excited to explore our new home. If you know of special places to visit or great food, let me know. Hint … I am always on the lookout for good sausage and boudin.
The call to serve God’s people, the bride of Christ, is a call to love. I have been called to serve through the Word of God and in love.
I plan to spend significant time in the Word of God as usual for sermon preparation. Nothing is better for the people of God than to be nourished in the truth of God’s Word. I am praying that God will direct me to just the passages of Scripture that His church needs in this season of change.
My plan is to also begin serving the body in love. To be there in hard times and good. In grief and celebration. As we begin to get to know one another, I pray that you will trust me to walk alongside you no matter what season you find yourself in. I want to encourage, support, and love you.
I know that the first several months as Senior Pastor is not the right time for making big changes. Amid transition, it is easy for a congregation to be disoriented. I do not want to start significantly rearranging the furniture, but it is also a great time to maximize the energy, excitement, and momentum of a new leader.
I want to begin immediately mobilizing our staff and key lay leadership to begin thinking, praying, and discussing vision. God brings change for a reason and it is always going to be for good. We know that God has glorious plans for His church here at Eastwood! (Romans 8:28) The mission is always going to be the same; to “Go therefore and make disciples”, (Matt. 28:19). Jesus gave this mission and it is the same for all churches at all times until Jesus returns. Now, vision is the path a church takes at any given time to accomplish the mission. I like to think of the mission as the destination on the top of a mountain and vision as the path to get there. Sometimes we take different vision paths as we progress on the journey to fulfill the mission.
We want to work together as a team, leaders, and church to discover this path ahead. We want to discover God’s vision for this season, not just man’s vision. We always desire God’s ways, not man’s ways. We want God’s ideas and not just “good” ideas.
God is up to something and it is always loving and always good. We get to be a part of it. He has plans to use His church here at Eastwood Baptist Church for His glory. That is a fact! I ask that you join me in prayer that God would show us clearly the vision ahead and that we would continue to grow our faith through the Word to step out in obedience as He leads.
I cannot wait! Let’s geaux Eastwood family!
Senior Pastor – firstname.lastname@example.org